Word-of-mouth, referrals, and the general opinions of others have always been heavyweights in the branding and marketing arena. Now, AI consumer intelligence creates a new champion to help brands identify active, engaged audiences that share more than just basic demographic details at scale.
Modern consumer intelligence is taking on new meaning as it’s being fueled by the people around us rather than by private focus groups and surveys. Information is more readily accessible to the masses, and people aren’t shy about sharing their opinions. In today’s climate, where a person’s experiences or thoughts can be shared around the world with a click of a button, your audience has become even more powerful in shaping the value and perceptions of your brand.
It’s no longer enough to market to an audience based on traditional segmentation data (think age, location, gender, income, etc.) because these factors have very little to do with their sentiments, conversations, and experiences. What’s more, the proliferation of user-generated content, particularly about the brands that consumers love (or loathe), has made it difficult to rein in the important insights.
It’s time to rethink the way brands connect with their audiences, starting with how they view an “audience” in the first place.
Audience Segmentation Needs a Makeover
The term ‘audience segmentation’ first emerged in the 1950s, when marketers started lumping customers into basic buying groups. The focus was largely on surface-level traits shared between customers, such as age ranges, income levels, geographic location, education level, and religion. For example, those customers with a high education may have been likely to be high earners and therefore would land on the radars of high-end department stores and luxury brands.
This approach worked to a degree…until it didn’t.
Today, we know that surface-level demographics only tell a small chapter of the story. Going back to the education-equals-earnings example, this isn’t always the case. A report found that 16% of high school grads earn the same or more than many people with a college degree.
Thanks to modern technology and data collection methods, we’ve also found that things like age, location, and education don’t necessarily spur buying decisions. That’s the chapter that brands should care the most about, but it’s the part of the story that’s rarely told because it’s not easy to collect, organize, and analyze the myriad of nuances behind purchases.
AI-enabled consumer intelligence is poised to change this.
AI consumer intelligence provides a new path to help brands segment their audiences based on data beyond demographics. Research tells us that:
- The average person will read 10 reviews online before making a buying decision.
- 87% of buying decisions start with online research.
- 82% of consumers ask for recommendations from friends or family before buying.
- 7 in 10 people will trust a recommendation from someone they do not know (e.g., an influencer, online review, etc.).
All of the above has very little to do with the traditional audience segmentation landscape. Consumers are increasingly learning about brands and making buying decisions through experiences with others. From shared interests on a particular topic or activity to social-first lifestyles, learning about your audiences outside of demographics can help you become more actively and authentically engaged in their conversations.
Introducing Tribes: A New Era of Consumer Intelligence
Linkfluence has recently launched Tribes, a new AI-enabled consumer intelligence app that helps brands identify audiences that share common characteristics. Tribes uses AI consumer intelligence technology to create deeper customer profiles of your audience. It reviews things like shared interests, engagement on specific channels, and attributes that define their lifestyles so that you can better tailor your messages and create more authentic content that people will care about.
Let’s take a closer look:
What's a Tribe?
At Linkfluence, we define a Tribe as a shared mindset between individuals. It could be as small as a group of local moms who do weekly arts and crafts with their kids. Or it could be as big as the millions of coffee lovers who celebrate the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.
To be fair, tribes have existed long before we launched our Tribes product. But our technology makes them easier to find and research. By using AI-enabled consumer intelligence, brands can more quickly and easily discover shared connections between audience members. Find their greatest interests. Hear what they talk about beyond your own brand. See who is leading the conversation. And use all of the above to create content that matters to your audience.
Trading Transactions for Relationships
Too often, sales and marketing teams treat sales as the end-all objective. Getting a ‘yes’ from a customer in the form of a purchase indicates your marketing is working (to an extent) and your product has some sort of value.
Best-in-class organizations know that a transaction is only part of the picture. It costs several times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. Plus, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is roughly 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new one is just 5-25%.
There’s even more value to build here. As you grow your relationships with your customers beyond single transactions, your customers have the potential to turn into advocates. They already have the benefit of doing business with you. They know your products. They trust your company, and they’ll be more likely to refer you to others when they’ve had great experiences.
Digital technology is prime for building relationships beyond transactions. It provides a simple and straightforward way to keep conversations going and learn more about each customer beyond the items they purchase.
AI consumer intelligence puts relationships even more within reach by creating deeper customer personas at scale. By tapping into your target audience’s online experiences, lifestyles, conversation topics, and engagement, your brand can insert itself into your customers’ lives in more authentic and relevant ways. The value of good relationships accrues over time.
When you don’t know what you don’t know, AI consumer intelligence can fill the gaps you didn’t know you had.
Creating Content People Care About
Content marketing has dominated the digital marketing landscape for years, serving as a way to build authority and interest beyond sales messages. Consumers can get to know a brand’s personality and values through the content it creates.
But as with many effective marketing tactics, content marketing has become extremely competitive. More than 8 in 10 companies are investing in content marketing, but only 11% of companies would rate their content strategies as “excellent.”
It’s no longer a matter of producing content for the sake of content. It’s not enough to post on Facebook or Instagram every day. It’s rarely effective to copy what your competitors are doing, as their audience, goals, and intentions might be completely different from your own.
With so few companies believing their content marketing is up to par, there’s a clear disconnect between how brands feel about content marketing and the results they get. One reason for this disparity is the ability to create high-quality, engaging content on a regular basis that will capture their audience’s attention.
AI consumer intelligence is helping to close the gap on content marketing effectiveness by learning what drives engagement. No longer about just selling products, you can add value by creating messaging and content on topics that resonate.
AI tools scour the web to see what topics and types of content are getting the most engagement. Natural language processing helps to reveal the nuances behind the text to gauge the real meanings behind it.
With deeper insights, brands can find better opportunities to create content that truly engages with audiences based on their interests and lifestyles. Take it a step further by knowing when and where to distribute your content so that it reaches the right people on the right channels.
Learn how AI can help you create more engaging content at scale.
Turning Advocacy into Action
Building an army of brand advocates is a feat that every brand wants to accomplish. Turning those advocates into proactive sharers helps you capitalize on an audience that knows and loves you.
AI-enabled consumer intelligence tools like Tribes take an active approach to growing your brand. Once Tribes identifies potential tribes and sub-tribes, you can start reaching out to those individuals or communities.
Build connections with publications, media, journalists, influencers, and other engaged individuals who can help your brand build momentum. Start creating deeper relationships and leverage the content they’ve created on your behalf. Learn what makes them tick so you can keep doing more of what made you a prime favorite.
As you monitor how people view and talk about your brand over time, you can better adjust your marketing strategies to create the image you want.
Build Your Tribes with Linkfluence
For every brand, there’s an audience. For every audience, there’s a tribe (or several) that help to shape how others feel about your brand.
Your first objective is to find your tribes and see how you can become part of their conversations and create more value. Linkfluence’s Tribes product does most of the heavy lifting for you with AI-powered consumer intelligence. Build deeper customer profiles at scale using automated insights from all corners of the internet. Compare and contrast two or more tribes to see engagement trends, behaviors, brand mentions, and other factors. Then, tailor your content and messaging to meet those tribes wherever they are and provide effective, personalized experiences.
Discover how to build your tribes with AI-enabled consumer intelligence from Linkfluence. Download the ebook: Up-Level Your Audience Segmentation today.